Tesla Prevails in Landmark Autopilot Lawsuit Involving Fatality


In a landmark legal decision, a jury has sided with Tesla in a case revolving around the automaker's Autopilot advanced driver assistance system and its alleged involvement in a fatal accident. The trial, held in the Superior Court of California, County of Riverside, was initiated by two passengers who survived a 2019 crash and claimed that Tesla was aware of defects in its product. The plaintiffs sought $400 million in damages for the loss of the driver's life, physical injuries, and mental distress.

Tesla's defense contended that the accident, which tragically resulted in the death of the driver, Micah Lee, was primarily the result of human error. This argument aligns with Tesla's stance in previous lawsuits related to Autopilot.

While Tesla has emerged victorious in previous legal battles, including a 2023 California jury trial that absolved the automaker's Autopilot system of blame in a 2019 crash, the case of Molander v. Tesla marked a significant milestone as the first jury trial involving a fatality.

Nevertheless, Tesla remains entangled in various other lawsuits in California, including a wrongful death suit brought by the family of Walter Huang, an Apple engineer who lost his life in a 2018 crash while his Tesla Model X, with Autopilot engaged, collided with a highway median. The State of California Department of Transportation is also named in this lawsuit, which alleges that errors in Tesla's Autopilot system were responsible for the tragic incident. A jury trial for this case is anticipated to commence next year.

In addition to legal challenges, Tesla faces ongoing scrutiny from both federal and state regulators, all pertaining to its Autopilot technology and its enhanced version, known as Full Self-Driving.

Tesla vehicles come equipped with a standard driver-assistance system called Autopilot. For an additional $6,000, owners can opt for Enhanced Autopilot, which encompasses various advanced features, including an active guidance system capable of navigating a car from on-ramps to off-ramps, managing interchanges, and executing lane changes.

For an additional $12,000, customers can purchase "full self-driving" (FSD), a feature that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long promised will deliver complete autonomous driving capabilities. It's essential to note that Tesla vehicles are not fully self-driving. FSD comprises a range of automated driving features, necessitating the driver's readiness to assume control at all times. This package includes the capabilities of Enhanced Autopilot, with the added ability to handle steering on city streets and respond to traffic lights and stop signs. 

Source: EVMagz

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